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Horner: Intrusion on family has to stop following investigation

Red Bull Formula 1 team boss Christian Horner has called for the intrusion and widespread coverage of his private life to stop after the investigation into alleged inappropriate behaviour.

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Following a complaint raised by a female employee, the team's parent company Red Bull GmbH ordered an investigation by an independent lawyer, which lasted eight weeks.
After its conclusion Red Bull dismissed the grievance, but additional leaks to the press, which included purported evidence of WhatsApp messages between Horner and the complainant, further raised the pressure on Horner and the team.
Shortly after Max Verstappen's win in last week's Bahrain Grand Prix, his father Jos said the team would "explode" if Horner were to remain in position.
But following talks to clear the air with the Verstappen camp, Horner is now keen for the world to move on from his case.
"It's obviously been a very trying period," he said ahead of this weekend's Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
"I'm married and have three children. And when that intrusion includes your children and the scrutiny that is placed on my marriage...
"I'm very fortunate that I have a beautiful family and a very supportive wife and I'm the only one that has been named in this. So, of course, it's very trying.
"The reality is that there was a grievance that was raised. It was dealt with in the most professional manner by the group, not by Red Bull Racing, but by the owners of Red Bull Racing – Red Bull GmbH – that appointed an independent KC, that is one of the most reputable KCs in the land.
Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing & Geri Halliwell

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing & Geri Halliwell

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

"He took time to investigate fully all of the facts. He interviewed all of the people involved together with others of interests, he looked at everything, he had all of the facts. And he came to a conclusion where he dismissed the grievance.
"As far as I'm concerned, as far as Red Bull is concerned, we move on and we look to the future. My wife has been phenomenally supportive throughout this, as have my family, but the intrusion on my family is now enough."
Beyond selective leaks, the veracity of which cannot be verified, most of the details in the case remain in the private domain.
Regardless of the actual findings, the opaque handling of the situation has left a sour taste in the face of efforts by F1 to make its series more inclusive.
The optics of a female employee's grievances being dismissed, after which she was suspended by the team, are also a cause for concern.
But amid calls from F1 teams and observers to provide more transparency, it is understood that Red Bull cannot divulge any more details without the express approval from all parties involved.
"It's a complicated issue, because there is a grievance process that takes place in any company," Horner said.
"That process is confidential between the individuals and the company itself. I'm not at liberty, unfortunately, due to that confidentiality and out of respect to the company, and of course, the other party, that we're all bound by the same restrictions.
Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing, arrives in the Paddock with his wife, Geri Horner

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing, arrives in the Paddock with his wife, Geri Horner

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

"And even if I would like to talk about it, I can't, because of those confidentiality restrictions.
"The only reason that this has gained so much attention, obviously, is because of the leakage and the tension that there's been drawn in the media, and which has been very, very trying, in many respects, and, particularly, for my family, because it's all been focused very much in one direction.
"And, of course, others have looked to take advantage of it. Unfortunately, Formula 1 is a competitive business. And there's been, obviously, elements [that] have looked to benefit from it. And that's perhaps the not-so-pretty side of our industry."

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